Saturday, May 31, 2008

Looking Back at Class of 2003...Centers

Full Schedule by Position

Four Star Centers

1. Jordy Lipsey, Virginia - Lipsey was the Cavaliers starting center in 2006 and 2007 but was not picked up by any NFL team following the 2007 NFL Draft. His bio from UVA doesn't indicate that he won any conference or national awards.

2. Jerry Sevin, LSU - Jerry Sevin shows up on LSU's roster his freshman year...but there is no record of him playing for the Tigers...or anyone else beyond the 2003 season.

3. John Sullivan, Notre Dame - John Sullivan logged 40+ starts at center for the Fighting Irish and was named to multiple All-American lists his senior season. He struggled snapping from the shotgun his senior season and saw his draft stock take a nose dive as a result. However, the Minnesota Vikings picked him up in the 6th round of the 2008 NFL Draft as a potential successor to aging veteran Matt Birk.

Other Center of Note

6. Ryan Kalil, USC - Kalil was a very good center for the Men of Troy and started from 2004-2006. He turned in standout performances at the 2007 Senior Bowl and NFL Combine which lead to the Carolina Panthers drafting him in the 2nd Round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He was the 1st center taken in the draft that year. I'm not sure what role Will Ferrell played in preparing Kalil for the draft...but there could be something behind his involvement with USC football. The NCAA should look into this...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Crabtree befriending Pacman???

The Star-Telegram had an update on Adam "Pacman" Jones today and it includes this little nugget of goodness:

(Pacman) Jones, who moved to Dallas a couple of weeks ago, is working out with Cincinnati Bengals receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Chicago Bears receiver Devin Hester and Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree at SMU under the guidance of former Cowboys superstar Deion Sanders.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Looking Back at Class of 2003...Offensive Guards

Full Schedule by Position

Five Star Offensive Guards

1. Ofa Mohetau, Brigham Young - Gifted with the size and skill to be a premier lineman in the NFL for years to come, Ofa had arguably the worst work ethic of any player. Injured at BYU, he transferred to the College of the Sequoias (CA). He signed with Texas Tech in 2006. From here on out, I'm going to provide you with some comments on Ofa I received from the guys at RRS when I asked for their insight on Ofa for the blog:

  • You won't be able to do that. Ofa ate your blog.
  • He will sit on you if you act up at the Ghost Bar, where is employed as a bouncer.
  • By far one of the most talented OL prospects I've seen. However, he had not heart or desire.
  • My neighbors are friends of Ofa's family and cousins to the Fehoko's. They tell me that in their "community" people can not understand why Ofa blew his chance for a college education and a pro football career.
  • That's crazy. It's the same feeling we have in my "community."

There you have it...some thoughts on arguably the biggest waste of talent in Texas Tech history. He also provides a good amount of humor for the membership.

Four Star Offensive Guards

2. Drew Radovich, Southern Cal - Radovich suffered from a nagging hip injury early in his career yet he was a 2 year starter for the Trojans. He spent 2006 as their starting left OG before moving to RT his senior year. To Pete Carroll's surprise, Radovich went undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft but was happily picked up by the Minnesota Vikings.

3. Andrew Bain, Miami (FL) - Serving primarily as a backup (32 games) for the Hurricanes, he moved into the starting role in 2007 and started 10 games. Considered a fringe NFL prospect at best, he signed with the New York Giants after going undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft.

4. Sam Baker, Southern Cal - Moved to tackle during his redshirt year, Baker started 49 games (39 consecutive) for the Trojans, earning All-American status twice (1st - 2006, 2nd - 2007). He suffered from a long line minor leg injuries. The son of AFL commissioner Dan Baker, he was drafted in the 1st Round (21st Overall) by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2008 NFL Draft.

5. Jeff Zuttah, Michigan - A sad but interesting story. Zuttah signed with the Wolverines out of high school. He made them aware of his sickle-cell anemia but the Michigan Athletic Dept decided that Zuttah couldn't play sports in Ann Arbor after he had signed a scholorship to play football for them. To their credit, the Wolverines offered to honor his scholorship and allow him to be a part of the team (but not play), but he chose to transfer to Stanford instead and was granted a waiver by the NCAA so he didn't have to sit out a year. However, he only played in a few games before his career with the Cardinal ended. I found a few mentions that he excelled in track at Stanford but nothing too concrete.

6. Donnie Woods, Maryland - Woods played 4 years for the Terps before enlisting in the military. Enjoy this article about the military, his recruitment out of high school, and a man with a good head on his shoulders.

7. Tripp Carroll, Virginia Tech - Now I bring you the story of a kid who lost the heart to play the game at a high level and quit the team (and football altogether) after 2 seasons in Blacksburg.

8. John Frady, Florida State - Moved to center shortly after arriving in Tallahassee, Frady started the next 3 years for the Noles despite his relatively small stature (6'4" 270 lbs). At one point before his senior year, the coaches looked at moving him to tight end. However, that didn't last for long and he remained at center.

9. Brian Zimpel, Oklahoma - There's not too much info out there on Zimpel as he only lasted a season in Norman before dropping out. I can't find where he surfaced at any other school of note.

10. Kevin Brown, UCLA - He was transitioned to the defensive line during his first year in Westwood. Brown started his final 25 games for the Bruins and was an integral part of their defensive front four. He went undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft but signed on with the Seattle Seahawks at the same time they picked up Texas Tech WR Joel Filani.

11. Zeb McKinzey, Georgia - Zeb never started a game for the Dawgs of Athens. He spent a season as a reserve offensive lineman but multiple shoulder injuries cut his career short and he left the team sometime during or after his junior season in 2006.

12. PJ Irvin, UCLA - Unlike McKinzey, PJ Irvin stayed healthy during his time with the Bruins but never cracked the starting offensive line. He saw limited action as an offensive lineman but saw playing time on the special teams units.

13. Jarrod Britt, Auburn - Britt was another casualty of multiple shoulder injuries. He had to have multiple major surgeries done to repair his shoulder and decided to leave the program before the 2005 season.

14. Ian-Yates Cunningham, Virginia - A back injury delayed the start to his career but Yates Cunningham was able to start 31 games at offensive guard in Charlottesville. He went undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft but was quickly signed by the Kansas City Chiefs.

15. Dan Mazan, Penn State - Mazan transferred to Rutgers after redshirting at Penn State in 2003. However, he didn't fare much better with the Scarlet Knights as he was continually passed over on the depth chart by other offensive lineman.

Other Offensive Guards of Note

16. Cody Wallace, Texas A&M - Moved to center at A&M where he started 3 years for the Aggies. Wallace was a 4th round pick by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2008 NFL Draft.

42. Steven Justice, Wake Forest - A 3 year starter at center for the Demon Deacons, Just was a 6th round pick of the Indianapolis Colts in the 2008 NFL Draft.

The Tech Factor

See the Ofa saga along with my post in Offensive Tackles. I included all of the Tech lineman from that year in that post.

Friday, May 16, 2008

I found something worth donating a body part for...

and Mr. Pete Fiutak...if you're can have my liver (it'll grow back) or a kidney (you only need one!)...

So what the hell am I talking about? Well enjoy the "Way too early 2008 BCS Bowl Projections" from Mr Fiutak. Yes he's a huge Tech fan and gives us more national respect than any other talking head...but at this point I'm not complaining!

FedEx Orange Bowl
Jan. 1 / 8 p.m. Miami Gardens, Fla. FOX
BCS vs. BCS (ACC Champion, if available)
Way Too Early Projection: Clemson vs. Texas Tech
Top 5 Others Considered: 1) Virginia Tech, 2) Boston College, 3) West Virginia, 4) Florida, 5) Georgia

The ACC champion is automatically in, and the assumption is that Clemson, troubled offensive line and all, will get here. The Orange, assuming it doesn't lose the ACC champion to the BCS Championship game, will pick last from the at-large teams. While it might lobby for the second best SEC option and hope to grab West Virginia or Wisconsin because of their traveling fan bases, Texas Tech, the projected loser of the Big 12 championship game, would likely be the last team chosen.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Looking Back at the Class of 2003...Offensive Tackles

Full Schedule by Position

Five Star Offensive Tackles

1. Jorrie Adams, Texas A&M - Adams epitomizes bust. Considered the perfect OT prospect, the Aggies were looking forward to plugging Adams in at LT for four seasons before sending him off to the top of the NFL Draft. However, Adams couldn't cut it on the o-line and was moved to the defensive side of the ball. He had a nice freshman year in 2004 and was expected to lead the defensive line as a sophmore. However, he was arrested on felony drug charges in College Station after being dismissed from the team and hasn't been seen from since.

2. Martin O'Donnell, Illinois
- O'Donnell had a very nice career as a left guard for the Illini. A freshman All-American and 3-time Academic Big Ten, he was also a 4 year starter. An All-American guard in 2007 on the Illinois squad that went to the Rose Bowl, he chose to call it quits instead of pursuing a career in the NFL.

Four Star Offensive Tackles

3. Ryan Poles, Boston College
- Poles took over the Eagles' left guard spot in 2006 and was having a very good senior season in 2007 before an achilles injury sidelined him for the rest of his time at Boston College. He went undrafted but caught on with the Chicago Bears and will be in training camp with them.

4. Brian Daniels, Colorado
- A four year starter at guard (first 3 years at strong guard, senior year at left guard), Daniels appeared on various All-Big 12 lists during his tenure in Boulder. He went undrafted in 2007 but is currently on the Minnesota Vikings practice squad.

5. Joel Holler, Penn State
- Holler showed up in Happy Valley somewhere north of 350 lbs (rumors have it as high as 370) and he was never able to get his weight down to the 305 lbs mandated by Joe Pa for him to see the field and elected to transfer to Delaware before the 2005 season. Not sure on his whereabouts after that as he didn't appear on the Blue Hens' 2007 roster, which would've been his senior season.

6. Donovan Davis, Mississippi State - Davis committed to the Bulldogs. However, I can't find any info on his playing career and he doesn't appear on either of their last 2 rosters. I did find mention of a player by the same name having played at Grambling State. He was mentioned as a draft sleeper but he doesn't appear on an NFL roster.

7. Aubrey McPhadden, Florida State
- He signed with the Noles but didn't qualify academically and spent the next few years at East Mississippi CC. He signed with Ole Miss in 2006 but I can't find anything where he never appeared on a roster for the Rebels.

8. Eric Young, Tennessee
- Young started 23 games for the Vols as an offensive tackle before an injury sidelined him late in the 2007 season. You can find a full bio on his career HERE on page 16 (last page). He went undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft but signed on with the Cleveland Browns.

9. Will Arnold, LSU
- Arnold's career started off great as he started most of his freshman (RS) season as left guard for the Tigers. A 2nd team All-SEC lineman in 2005 and 2006, he missed most of his last 2 years in Baton Rouge due to injuries and didn't catch on with an NFL team after the 2008 Draft.

10. Adam Kraus, Michigan
- Originally recruited as a tight end, Kraus switched to the offensive line after his redshirt year in Ann Arbor. A staple along an offensive line that included #1 overall pick Jake Long, Kraus started 35 games overall, including his final 26 consecutive games, at left guard before playing his final 5 games as the Wolverines' center. He signed a free agent contact with the Baltimore Ravens.

11. Steven Jones, Tennessee
- Jones appeared in 11 games but never started for the Vols. He earned 1 varsity letter.

12. Trey Chandler, Georgia
- Chandler's career was cut short by shoulder injuries before it ever started. He remained a part of the football program while keeping his scholarship.

13. Aaron Sears, Tennessee - A three year starter in Knoxville, he saw time at every position on the offensive line. Noteable awards include being named 1st Team All-American and the Jacobs Award, given to the SEC's top blocking offensive lineman. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Bucs in the 2nd round of the 2007 NFL Draft.

14. Ryan Schuler, Nebraska
- Schuler suffered from blood clotting in his legs and high school...and it continued during his short time with the Huskers. He only appears on the team roster for the 2003 season. I haven't found any other information about him beyond that.

15. David Price, Mississippi State
- Unfortunately, google is very saturated with information about the other David Price. I've tried multiple searches and can't find anything about this David Price. He doesn't appear on the Bulldogs roster either of the past 2 seasons.

16. Mike Jones, Iowa
- Jones continually tried to earn playing time at right tackle for the Hawkeyes but was repeatedly moved back to left guard. At one point he started 34 consecutive games before missing a game his senior year. He was named 1st team All-American by and 1st team All Big Ten. He signed on with the Bears after the 2007 NFL Draft, was cut last week and was picked up by the San Diego Chargers.

17. Matt Welsh, Virginia Tech
- Welsh spent his time with the Hokies in the offensive line rotation. He primarily played left guard. I can't find any additional information beyond that.

18. Joe Thomas, Wisconsin
- Thomas was a fixture at left tackle for the Badgers from 2004-2006. He was a first team All American in 2005 and 2006 as well as winner of the Outland Trophy in 2006. His success in Madison convinced the Cleveland Browns to make him the #3 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. He did a superb job protecting Derek Anderson's blind side and earned his first Pro Bowl invite as a rookie.

19. Tyler Luellen, Missouri
- Luellen was a fixture at the left tackle position for the Tigers. He started 39 consecutive games. He played an instrumental part in the Tigers winning the Big 12 North and Cotton Bowl during the 2007 season. Despite going undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft, he has signed with the San Diego Chargers.

20. Brandon Keith, Oklahoma
- This is an interesting one. He signed with the Sooners in 2003 but quit the team shortly thereafter. He spent 2004 with a directional Oklahoma JUCO and was named 2nd Team All-American. He returned to the land of sooner in 2005 but quit the team again after not seeing the field. He finally landed in Northern Iowa where he was a solid right tackle for them when he wasnt injured. His upside outweighed his baggage though as the Arizona Cardinals drafted him in the 7th round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

21. Jake Long, Michigan
- Named the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year in both 2006 and 2007, Long was also a 1st Team All-American his last 2 seasons. He moved from right tackle in 2006 to left tackle in 2007. And oh yeah...he was the #1 overall pick of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins.

22. Akim Millington, Oklahoma
- Millington chose the Sooners over the Illini out of North Wheaton HS (Wheaton, IL) in 2003. However, he left Norman for personal reasons after being named the starting right tackle for the 2005 season and came back to Illinois. He was a fixture on the offensive line for the Illini, starting 10 games at left tackle and 13 games at right tackle. He went undrafted but signed on with the New Orleans Saints after the 2008 NFL Draft.

Other Offensive Tackles of Note

35. Gosder Cherilus, Boston College
- Cherilus started 31 straight games for the Eagles and was a team captain in 2007. He was drafted in the 1st round by the Detroit Lions in the 2008 NFL Draft.

The Tech Factor

The Red Raiders signed quite a few linemen in 2003 (Dan Christian, Ben Griffin, Matt Grissel, Josh Morris, and Raymond Serres) but Griffin was the only to crack the 2 deep roster by the 2005 season.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Great ESPN Article on Mike Leach

Really enjoyed this write up on Coach Leach from Mark Schlabach.

Leach, 47, isn't like most of his colleagues in a profession dominated by millionaires and workaholics. He typically reports to the office around 10 a.m. and leaves before 9 p.m. Once Leach returns home, he often stays up until 2 a.m. or later, watching TV programs few others know exist.

"If you're getting to the office at 6 a.m. and getting home at midnight, well, then you're wasting a lot of time," Leach said. "That's just a failure to manage your time. What are you doing in the middle of the day? Are you having a siesta?"

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Looking Back at the Class of 2003...Wide Receivers

Full Schedule by Position

Five Star WR's

1. Andre Caldwell, Florida - Other than missing a season with a broken leg, Caldwell was a standout WR for the Florida Gators and was instrumental in helping the Gators win the 2007 BCS National Championship. His success in The Swamp lead to the Cincy Bengals drafting him in the 3rd round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

2. Chad Jackson, Florida - If Caldwell was a star for the Gators, then Jackson was a superstar during his time in Gainesville. After playing a secondary role in 2003 and 2004, Jackson had a breakout year in 2005 with 88 catches (6th nationally) for 900 yards and 9 TD's. The New England Patriots were so enamored with Jackson that they traded up in the 2nd round of the 2006 NFL Draft to draft him. His first year in the NFL saw him as a reserve WR. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL in the AFC Championship loss to the Indianapolis Colts and missed most of the 2007 season as well. He returned in November 2007 as a return man on special teams.

3. Robert Meachem, Tennessee - Despite not starting in his first two seasons of play, Meachem lead a Volunteer team in receptions in both 2004 and 2005. As the go to wideout in 06, Meachem blew up with 71 receptions for a school record 1298 yds and 11 TD's. A first round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints in the 2007 NFL Draft, Meachem missed the entire season with a knee injury. However, he is "100% and ready to dominate the NFL" according to an entry on his wiki page.

Four Star WR's

4. Sean Bailey, Georgia
- Serving as a backup for 3 seasons, Bailey moved into a starting role in 2007. He posted a serviceable season of 37 catches for 597 yds and 4 TD's. He went undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft but signed on with the Kansas City Chiefs.

5. Adarius Bowman, North Carolina
- Now known as a star receiver for Oklahoma State, Bowman spent his first two years in Chapel Hill. He was kicked off the team for for undisclosed reasons (he failed a drug test in 2003) and chose to transfer to Stillwater after the 2004 season. In the past 2 years, he's had 127 catches for 2000+ yds and 20 TD's. He's been named 1st team All Big 12 and Newcomer of the Year in 2006. However, Bowman plead guilty to possession of marijuana shortly before the 2008 NFL Draft and as a result he went undrafted. At one time it looked like he was going to catch on with the Philadelphia Eagles but that rumor was quickly shot down and it doesn't appear that he's signed on with anybody just yet.

6. Mark Bradford, Stanford
- Bradford was a nice player for the Cardinal. He had 132 catches for 1844 yds and 11 TD's over 4 seasons (he missed most of 2006 with an injury). He went undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft but was signed by the Dallas Cowboys. He was released after their minicamp last weekend.

7. Jayson Swain, Tennessee
- Served as a backup WR for the Vols for 2 years but started opposite Robert Meachem and had 49 catches for 688 yds and 6 TD's. Swain went to camp with the Bears after the 2007 NFL Draft but was released shortly after the rookie minicamp.

8. Anthony Hill, LSU
- Hill suffered a severe knee injury and never recorded a catch at LSU. He transferred to South Florida after the 2004 season. I can't find any info or stats from his time at South Florida or where (if anywhere) he went after that.

9. Dorien Bryant, Boston College
- Bryant signed with the Eagles before heading to prep school (presumably because of poor grades). He then chose to play for the Purdue Boilermakers in 2004. He had 3 seasons of 80+ receptions and 900+ yds and 21 receiving TD's. He was also used sparing in the running game and had another 6TD's. A very productive receiver, his size scared away NFL teams from drafting him in 2008. However, he signed on with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

10. Mike Mason, North Carolina
- Mason spent his first 2 seasons in Chapel Hill before being dismissed from the team following the 2005 season for reportedly violating the school's no tolerance substance abuse policy. He played his last 2 years for Tennessee State before heading to the NFL. He didn't last long with the Cleveland Browns though as he was dismissed shortly after being charged with 3 misdemeanors.

11. Craig Chambers, Washington
- A productive but often troubled receiver with the Huskies, Chambers chose to transfer to 1-AA Montana after his sophmore season where he finished his career. One interesting note, he was listed at 6'5" by Rivals, 6'4" by Montana, but only measured to 6'2" by NFL Scouts. Interesting...

12. Craig Davis, LSU
- Davis had 3 very productive years with the Tigers before heading to the NFL after his Jr year (2006). The San Diego Chargers took him in the 1st Round (3oth overall) in the 2007 NFL Draft and he had a nice rookie season as a backup WR for the Bolts.

13. Limas Sweed, Texas
- An instrumental part of the Longhorns 2006 BCS National Championship. A starter for 3 years, Sweed was regarded as one of the top targets in the Big 12. Unfortunately, he reinjured the ligaments in his wrist vs OU in the 2007 season and missed the 2nd half of the year. He was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

14. Bret Smith, Tennessee
- The 3rd receiver of the Vols recruiting class, Smith had minimal production his first 2 years at Neyland. Once Vols OC David Cutcliffe returned the production of all 3 guys increased dramatically. However, Smith was declared academically ineligble for the 2007 Outback Bowl. Things went from bad to worse as Smith, who turned pro early but went undrafted, was arrested by Knoxville police for evading arrest and leaving the scene of a crime.

15. DeCody Fagg, Florida State
- Fagg had a very solid career that saw him as a starter for his final 3 seasons. Despite a poor QB situation, he was able to post increasing stats each season with bests of 54 catches for 758 yds and 5 TD's in 2007. Considered a 2nd day pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Fagg suffered a "career ending" injury at the NFL combine. Some speculated that he would still catch on with a team as a free agent but I don't think anything has materialized at this time.

16. Ruben Jackson, unsigned
- Jackson committed to Idaho State but didn't qualify academically and ended up at City College San Francisco for 2 years. However, he busted his butt academically in his last 2 semesters and passed 36 hours of courses so that he could attend Oregon State. Though he didn't make it to the NFL, he has a really neat story about persevering against heavy odds.

17. Tyrell Gatewood, Texas
- Originally signed as a WR, Gatewood was moved to safety while in Austin. A backup during his tenure on the 40 Acres, he decided that he enjoyed drugs a bit more than football and was eventually kicked off the team after multiple arrests.

18. B.J. Vickers, Louisville
- He signed with Louisville, didn't qualify academically, went to Santa Monica CC for 2 years, spent a year with the Arizona Wildcats, and finished his career at West Texas A&M.

19. Matt Caddell, Alabama
- He served primarily as a backup with the Tide but exceled when given the opportunity in 2007. He went undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft but caught on with the St Louis Rams.

20. Lonnie Hurst, Illinois
- Hurst had a great start to his career as a true freshman for the Illini in 2003. A knee injury early in 2004 ended that season for him before it really started. He played in 1 game in 2005 but didn't record a catch. ESPN shows that he played for DIII St. Joseph's (IN) in 2006 but had a limited impact.

21. Dwayne Bowe, LSU
- Bowe saw the field from the time he arrived in Baton Rouge in 2003. By his senior year, he and JaMarcus Russell had set a school record for most TD's between a QB and WR. Bowe was also named 1st team All-SEC and All-American for the 2006/07 season. His success continued in the NFL in 2007. As a 1st Round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, Bowe had a stellar season and was in contention for NFL Rookie of the Year if not for some guy named Adrian Peterson.

22. Tristen Ross, Oklahoma
- Ross spent a few years in Norman and found his niche in skipping class...and thus skipping out on football as he was academically ineligible on a consistent basis. He landed at Louisiana College in 2007 and logged 1 catch for 12 yards.

Other WR's of Note

43. Jeff Samardzija, Notre Dame
- A stellar wideout for the Fighting Irish under Charlie Weis, Samardzija was a finalist for the 2006 Biletnikoff and considered by most to be a high NFL draft pick. However, he chose to pursue a baseball career after being drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 5th round of the 2006 MLB Amatuer Draft. He was signed to a 5-year, $10 million contract and is currently pitching for their Double A affiliate, the Tennessee Smokies.

The Tech Factor
For a school known for stockpiling receivers like a Key West resident stockpiles hurricane supplies, the Red Raiders didn't sign any WR's in the 2003 recruiting class.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Under the weather

Not feeling so good the WR recruiting recap will appear some time tomorrow instead of today. Sorry for the delay. I think at 22 guys this is the largest group so make sure to check back in tmrw!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Looking Back at Class of 2003...Tight Ends

Five Star TE's

1. Tony Hills Jr, Texas - Reconstructive surgery on his left knee forced him to redshirt and then move to offensive tackle. He was a key reserve on the Longhorns' 2005 BCS National Championship team and a starter in 2006 and 2007. A fractured left fibula vs Texas Tech in 2007 kept him out of the team's final two games. His talent and consistency as a tackle was enough for the Pittsburgh Steelers to draft him in the 4th round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

2. Greg Olsen, Miami (FL) - Having originally signed with Notre Dame, Olsen transferred to Miami his freshman year. A shoulder injury forced him to redshirt in 2003 but he took over the starting TE position after Kevin Everett headed off to the NFL. In three seasons at the U, Olsen racked up 1215 receiving yards and 6 TD's. His outstanding collegiate career paid dividends in the 2007 NFL Draft as the Chicago Bears drafted him with the 31st overall selection. He was named to the Professional Football Writers' All-Rookie Team for 2007.

Four Star TE's

3. Louis Irizarry, Ohio State - Saw time on special teams as a true freshman for the Buckeyes. In the spring of 2004, Irizarry was found guilty of felony robbery and sentenced to 3 years in prison. However...he was released after serving 6 months and transferred to Youngstown St. He sat out in 2004 and redshirted in 2005. Louis was the backup tight end and posted respectable stats the past 2 years. The Cincinatti Bengals invited him to their minicamp this weekend but have yet to tender an offer.

4. Vernon Davis, Maryland - Davis played mostly on special teams as a true freshman. He started to emerge as a viable receiving threat in 2004. He had a breakout season in 2005 and was named a consensus All-American and All-ACC player. Davis is also known for being a gym rat and he set every school strength record for a TE. Running a 4.38 40 at the 2006 NFL Combine sent him all the way to the 6th overall pick by the San Francisco 49ers. Injuries have hampered his NFL career but he's expected to be the starting TE in 2008.

5. Chris Barrett, Southern Cal - Barrett fell far short of expectations during his time at USC. He switched between tight end, defensive end, and defensive tackle but never made it to the top of the depth chart. When he wasn't switching positions, he evidently wasn't attending class all that often either as he was declared academically ineligble in the spring of 2007. He hoped to catch on with a CFL team but nothing ever materialized.

6. Jonathan Stupar, Virginia - Lettered 4 years (2004-2007) and started 17 games in his last two seasons. One interesting story, a broken foot in 2005 resulted in 2 surgeries. Before the 2nd surgery, doctors discovered that Stupar had been living for 20 years with a life threatening heart condition that had never been diagnosed.

7. Will Paul, Michigan - Though he's in the TE list, Paul was recruited to Ann Arbor as a defensive lineman. However, he switched to fullback before the 2005 season to serve as a blocking specialist. It's possible that he logged a few carries or maybe even a TD or two but the stats pages I found do not reflect any offensive statistics for him.

8. Garret Bushong, Purdue - Bushong played as a reserve his freshman year. During the season, HC Joe Tiller switched his number from 3 to 93, "to get his focus off wearing a single-digit number." He didn't play in 04 and saw very limited action in 2005. As he continued to drop on the depth chart...things fired up off the field. First Bushong was arrested for DUI. Then he decides to write a letter to the school newspaper complaining about his DUI being a "big story" and the bad press that athletes were getting for their various transgressions. Finally, his career unceremoniously came to a close in 2006 when he left the team due to a series of injuries that he was unable to overcome. Boilermaker Banter has all of the details on their site. It's an interesting read to say the least.

9. Josh Barbo, Missouri - Barbo never made an impact for the Missouri Tigers. After not really seeing any PT as a tight end, he switched to the defensive line in the Spring of 2005. Even so, he never got higher than 3rd on the depth chart as a DT or a DE (he played both at various times). He eventually left the program after the 2006 season with 1 year of eligibility remaining.

10. Josh Mueller, Nebraska - Mueller was a staple in the TE rotation for the Huskers. He played in 44 games over 4 years and made 5 starts. Mueller was mainly called upon in blocking situations as he only logged 6 career receptions. He was also a contributor on special teams. His most noteable acheivement was being named to the Big 12 Academic Honor Roll 7 different semesters.

Other TE's of Note

28. Martin Rucker, Missouri - Unlike #9 TE Josh Barbo, Rucker made a big impact for the Tigers. A 2nd team Freshman All-American in 2004, Rucker followed that up with a solid 2005 campaign. His stock soared even higher the next 2 years as he had 137 catches for 1,345 yards and 13 TD's while earning All-Big 12 and All-American during his time in Columbia. His exceptional size (6'5" 255 lbs) earned him the title of 4th round pick by the Cleveland Browns in the 2008 NFL Draft.

44. Brad Cottam, Tennessee - An injury plagued career with the Vols would leave many thinking that he's go undrafted in the NFL. However, he was healthy for the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine and did enough there to convince the Kansas City Chiefs to take the 6'8" 270 lb TE with their 3rd round pick.

52. Craig Stevens, Cal - A steady performer for the Cal Bears, Stevens appeared in 37 games (20 starts) during his tenure at Berkeley. Playing in an offense that doesn't feature the TE, he consistently produced 15 or so catches per season for 3 years. Most experts pegged him as a late round pick but the Tennessee Titans took a leap and grabbed him in the 3rd round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

The Tech Factor

37. David Weems, Texas Tech - I've searched and searched but can't too much info on him. The only tidbit out there is a fall practice report from August 2003 where Don Williams doesn't think that Weems will redshirt. He doesn't appear on the 2004 roster so redshirt or not...he didn't hang around on the team for too long. Somebody feel free to fill me in on this one.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Looking Back at Class of 2003...Running Backs

Full Schedule by Position

Five Star RB's

1. Reggie Bush, USC - What needs to be said about him that isn't already well known?? Walter Camp Award? Check. Doak Walker Award? Check. Heisman Memorial Trophy? Check. Unanimous 1st Team All-American? Check. BCS National Championship? Check. 1st Round Draft Pick? Check. If you need more info...check out one of the many sites dedicated to the man.

2. Kregg Lumpkin, Georgia - Blowing out his knee in practice after his freshman year, Lumpkin had a nice season in Athens in 2006 when he started 9 games and ran for 798 yds and 6 TD's. However, he served mostly as a backup during his time with the Dawgs and was quickly passed on the depth chart by Knowshon Moreno and Thomas Brown on the 2007 depth chart. After going undrafted, Lumpkin signed on with the Green Bay Packers earlier this week.

3. Demetrius Summers, South Carolina - Summers had a great freshman season for the Gamecocks. However, positive drug tests lead to his dismissal from the team before the 2005 season. As indicated in the above link, he surfaced at a Dallas Cowboys mini-camp in 2006 but never made the team. Only bit of info I've found since is an arrest from August 2007.

Four Star RB's

4. Alley Broussard, LSU - This is an interesting one. Broussard spent 4 years at Baton Rouge and played a signifcant backup role to Joseph Addai and Justin Vincent. However, he chose to leave LSU before his senior season because his "heart was no longer in it." At the time he indicated that he would finish up his degree at LSU. However, he ended up transferring to Div II Missouri Southern State University. He showed up at LSU's Pro Day, went undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft, and I haven't been able to determine if anybody picked him up. I've seen mentions that the Colts, Bengals, and Saints were all considering him but nothing confirmed.

5. Tyrone Moss, Miami - He started as a true freshman for the U and was a nice change of pace back for Frank Gore his first two years. His breakout year as the feature back in 2005 was cut short by a knee injury vs Virginia Tech but Moss was still named 1st-team All-ACC. He struggled to return to his old form in 2006 and saw limited playing time as a backup to Javarris James. Undrafted in the 2007 NFL Draft, Moss attended the rookie minicamp of the Cleveland Browns but was cut shortly thereafter. It looks like his professional playing days are over.

6. Darrell Blackman, NC State - Despite showing up in Raleigh as a highly touted running back, Blackman made his mark as a return specialist. He earned recognition on multiple All-ACC, and All-American lists for his accolades on special teams. By 2007 he had fully transitioned from the backfield to wide receiver and he tied for the team lead in receptions. Blackman went undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft but has signed on the with Detroit Lions, who are likely considering him for a spot on special teams.

7. Lynell Hamilton, San Diego St. - Hamilton started out with a bang for the Aztecs, having the best freshman season in school history since Marshall Faulk and earning multiple Freshman All-American accolades. However, broken ankles, torn rotator cuffs, and damaged knees slowed him down over the rest of his career and he was eventually transitioned into a part-time fullback role. He signed with the New Orleans Saints earlier today and will attend their rookie minicamp.

8. Chauncey Washington, USC - Signing with the Trojans as one of three blue chip RB's (Reggie Bush and Lendale White being the others), Washington was quickly the odd man out. Multiple ankle injuries derailed him only 2 games into the 2003 season. He was ruled academically ineliglble in 2004...and again in 2005. The second academic suspension cost him his athletic scholarship but CW stayed at Southern Cal and regained his scholarship before the 2006 season. However, he was hit by the injury bug again in August practice and didn't return to his starting spot until the middle of the season. Injuries hampered him again in 2007 but he performed well when on the field and, combined with a 4.35 40 at the USC Pro Day, it was enough to earn a 7th round selection by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2008 NFL Draft.

9. LenDale White, USC - White had an impact as the perfect compliment to Reggie Bush from the time they stepped foot on the field in 2003. He quietly lead the team in rushing his first two seasons and was a 2005 All-American running back. He set a school record with 52 rushing touchdowns over his 3 year career. He parlayed his success at Southern Cal into a 2nd round pick by the Tennessee Titans in the 2006 NFL Draft. He received limited carries in his rookie season before rushing for 1,100 yds and 7 TD's in 2007.

10. Barrington Edwards, LSU - Edwards saw limited playing time for the Tigers as part of their 2003 National Championship team. He chose to transfer to UNC after the season and sat out the 2004 year. He shared time with 2 other backs during the 05 and 06 seasons, running for less than 400 yards both years. He was suspended indefinitely from the team before 2007 spring practice and did not return in the fall.

11. Erik Hardeman, Texas - Showed up at the Forty Acres and never saw the field. He became academically ineligble during his redshirt year and was arrested with 20 grams of cocaine and $3,774 in his pockets shortly before Texas left for the 2005 BCS National Championship game.

12. Jason Evans, Stanford - Evans,who could safely be given the bust label, never started a game for the Cardinal. In 4 years he tallied 381 rushing yards as a reserve running back. He was also the team's kickoff return specialist with a career long return of 35 yards. Yeah...that's just depressing.

13. Cornell Johnson, unsigned - As the lack of school indicates...Johnson never committed to a school. He held out for an offer from OU that never came. He then planned to choose between UNLV and Oregon State but nothing ever materialized. He spent the 2003 season at Alfred State, a JUCO in New York. While there he set the school's single season rushing record. He then played for 1-AA Indiana State in 2004. They don't show any stats for him in the 2005 season but he declared for the 2006 NFL Draft. It doesn't appear that anything materialized for him though.

14. Brian Dennison, NC State - I can't find anything that shows where he actually showed up in Raleigh, NC. ESPN reflects that his name was tied to Bethune-Cookman at one point but it doesn't indicate a year nor does it show any game stats for Dennison.

15. Jerome Jackson, Michigan - Jackson served primarily as a backup running back for the Wolverines. He appeared in 35 games as the backup to Mike Hart. His career high was 105 yds vs Northwestern in a 2005 game. He received the Brandstatter/Beckmann Award that's given to the player that "best demonstrates passion, dedication and commitment to the team." He went undrafted in the 2007 NFL Draft but was picked up by the Cleveland Browns. He spent the 2007 season the injured reserve list.

16. Skyler Thornton, Florida - Thornton spent a few years in Gainesville but rarely saw the field for the Gators. He was none too happy about it and made his feelings known to anybody that would listen. Eventually, he left the team and transferred to Valdosta State for the 2006 season. He was listed as a fringe NFL prospect but doesn't appear to have ever caught on with a team.

17. Andre Callender, Boston College - One could make the case that Callender should be listed as a dual-threat back. His first 3 seasons, he accumulated 1978 yds rushing (4.6/carry) and 497 yds receiving (8 yds/catch). Callender had a breakout year in 2007 with 989 yds rushing, 720 yds receiving and 13 total TD's.

18. Laurence Maroney, Minnesota - Maroney split time with Marion Barber III (now of the Dallas Cowboys) to form one of the best rushing tandems in college football. Upon Barber's departure to the NFL, Maroney stepped into the lead role in 2005 and again rushed for over 1000 yards. He is only the 3rd RB in Big 10 history to rush for 1000+ yards in each of his first 3 seasons. On the heels of his success as a Golden Gopher, Maroney declared for the 2006 NFL Draft and was taken in the first round by the New England Patriots. He split time with Corey Dillon during his rookie season before becoming the feature back in 2007.

19. Austin Scott, Penn State - Serving primarily as a backup when he wasn't injured, Scott got the starting nod for the 2007 season. However, Paterno kicked him off the team in early October and he was charged with rape and sexual assault shortly thereafter. Scott's case was scheduled to start on April 16th. However, the talent that he showed early in his career was enough to earn him an invite to the Cleveland Browns minicamp this weekend.

Other RB's of Note

22. Tashard Choice, Georgia Tech - A very good RB for Georgia Tech, Tashard etched his name all over the record books for the Yellow Jackets. He set school records for most 100 yd rushing games, most consecutive 100 yd rushing games, and most rushing attempts in a season. Choice has many other career numbers in the Top 5 in school history. His performance in college caught the eye of the Dallas Cowboys and they picked him up in the 4th round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

The Tech Factor

Sione Havili - Came to Texas Tech as a RB but made the transition to LB and served primarily on special teams. After the the 2004 season, Havili transferred to Weber State for more playing time. In the summer of 2005, he filed a lawsuit against the University of Utah due to him not being allowed to tryout for the team in 2002. He claimed that he was not allowed to tryout because he was a convicted felon who spent a year in jail for arson in 1999.

edit - Here's an opinion piece I found speaking out against Havili's lawsuit. I'm still searching but have yet to find the outcome of the lawsuit. I might have to have the fiancee look it up in Westlaw or some other online law database that she can access.